Call to step up safety at Sheriffhall roundabout

Sheriffhall roundabout was the scene of 65 injuries in the ten years to 2013. Picture: Ian Georgeson
Sheriffhall roundabout was the scene of 65 injuries in the ten years to 2013. Picture: Ian Georgeson
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ROAD chiefs have been urged to speed up plans to make Sheriffhall roundabout safer after it was named the most dangerous junction in Scotland.

The roundabout on the city bypass was the scene of 65 injuries in the ten years to 2013, official figures have revealed.

Statistics, provided by the Scottish Government’s Transport Scotland agency, also listed Hermiston Gait in the worst eight roundabouts, with 31 casualties.

Upgrading at Sheriffhall, which handles 21,000 vehicles a day, has included innovative new road studs. These highlight lane markings by lighting up in sync with the traffic lights.

The technology, which was a UK-first when installed a year ago, is designed to encourage drivers to stay in lane as they approach and drive round the six-prong junction, which includes the A7. Further major work is planned to separate traffic taking different routes – which Neil Greig, policy and research director at the Institute of Advanced Motorists said was “long overdue”.

He said: “It’s one of the top blockage points in the trunk road network in Scotland these days. An ideal solution would be full-grade separation – overpasses and underpasses – so the traffic does not have to stop.

“The roundabout at Newbridge used to be one of the worst traffic blackspots in Scotland. Then they got full separation and we never hear of accidents there.

“Sheriffhall needs underpasses and overpasses – in terms of sheer numbers and problems caused by congestion, it should be the priority for Transport Scotland.”

Pirnhall roundabout off the M9 and M80, south of Stirling, recorded the second highest number of injuries over that period – 64.

The next highest number of injuries – 52 – happened at the Broxden roundabout, where the A9 and M90 meet in Perth. It was also the scene of the most serious injuries – ten. Casualties at the roundabouts totalled 376, including 29 serious injuries.

The figures only cover junctions and their approaches, for which Transport Scotland is responsible. Others, which are maintained by councils, may have higher figures.

The agency said major safety work had been completed or was planned at all the sites.

Ranking the “worst-performing” trunk road junctions was a key commitment by ministers in their action blueprint, Scotland’s Road Safety Framework to 2020, published in 2009. It also pledged to “prepare a programme to improve selected locations”.

A Transport Scotland spokeswoman said: “Road safety is of paramount importance and the whole of the trunk road network, including junctions, is monitored annually to pinpoint the areas that require interventions to promote casualty reduction.

“While this list is a useful tool in highlighting such locations, it is more appropriate that we reflect the findings of this annual network analysis when making decisions on where to target road safety investment.

“This allows each set of interventions to be tailored to address particular issues. Our plans for the junctions indicated range from major upgrades to the installation of new safety barriers, and signing and lining improvements.”